KC gun range owners defend dress policy after refusing to let Muslim woman wear hijab

Shelly Yang/syang@kcstar.com
·3 min read

Owners of a Kansas City area gun range accused of discriminating against a Muslim woman by not allowing her to shoot while wearing her hijab say the business will not apologize for its safety policy.

A statement issued by Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit on Wednesday said the sporting venue created its dress code upon its opening in 2015 and the business stands firm that its policies are not discriminatory. Concerning the wearing of a hijab, the statement presents a possible scenario in which the hot brass shell casing discharged from a firearm could wind up trapped in cloth and lead to someone being accidentally shot on the range.

“It saddens us that anyone would say we are not inclusive, given that we serve all races and religions every single day in all of our stores. We pride ourselves on this fact, and we strongly believe in America and the Second Amendment that is for every single American. Period,” Bren Brown, president of Frontier Justice, said in the statement.

The statement comes in response to a federal lawsuit filed this week by The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington, D.C.-based Muslim civil rights organization. The lawsuit was brought in U.S. District Court in Kansas City on behalf of Rania Barakat, who contends the staff denied her access to the range because she refused to remove her hijab, a religious head covering worn by women of Muslim faith.

In the lawsuit, Barakat says she and her husband went to Frontier Justice on New Year’s Day of 2020. While in line, they filled out a liability waiver form and when she approached the cashier, the employee told her that she must remove her hijab, citing the gun range’s dress code policy, according to the suit.

After repeatedly asking to see the dress code policy, the employee responded that “hats, caps, bandannas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward.”

Barakat and her husband responded that they have gone shooting multiple times while she wore a hijab without issue. Her husband also explained that people wear long sleeves and shirts that cover their necks to protect them from shrapnel.

The manager “firmly stated that those gun ranges are not Frontier Justice and they have different rules,” according to the lawsuit. Barakat contends the manager’s tone was aggressive and loud in an effort to have them leave. Barakat and her husband ultimately decided to leave.

The lawsuit contends that Frontier Justice has denied other Muslims access to its facility because of their hijabs. The lawsuit cites online reviews from others claiming they’ve been turned away too, some who were given the reason that the scarfs cover their identity.

The response from Frontier Justice says offerings are made specifically for Muslim women to wear a swim hijab, which is kept at the store for community use. Other alternatives include access to a shooting simulator at the sporting venue, the business says.

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